Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 CONTACT: JOHN BALDON
October 4, 2014                                                        (805) 497-5837
Photos Attached                                                     




New West Symphony music director Marcelo Lehninger will lead the orchestra in the opening Masterpiece Series concert of the Symphony's 20th anniversary season. Internationally–acclaimed pianist Gabriela Montero will make her New West Symphony debut in three performances of Edvard Grieg's Concerto in A Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 16.  Soprano Indra Thomas will make her debut with the orchestra, singing the Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Heitor Villa-Lobos. The program also includes John Corigliano's Promenade Overture and the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein.

The first performance will take place on Friday, October 17, 2014 at 8:00 pm at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, located at 800 Hobson Way in Oxnard.  The program will be repeated on Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 8:00 pm at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks and on Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm at Santa Monica's Barnum Hall, located at 601 Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica.

Tickets:  Tickets priced from $29 to $102 are available by phone, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday at 1-866-776-8400.  Tickets are also available in person at the New West Symphony office, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday and through the Symphony web site at, 24/7.   Tickets are also available at the respective concert hall box offices.

Hear & Now Live:  This lively and informative, pre-concert discussion about the music on the program begins at 7:00 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings and 3:00 pm on Sunday afternoon.  The programs are free and open to ticket holders for the respective performances. 

About the Soloists
Pianist Gabriela Montero was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She gave her first public performance at the age of five.  At the age of eight she made her concerto debut in Caracas and was granted a scholarship from the Venezuelan government to study in the United States. Her professional career includes highly–acclaimed performances with all the major American orchestras as well as major orchestras in Europe. Ms. Montero is also widely applauded for her impressive improvisational skills which she demonstrates in encores after concerto and recital performances, inviting audiences to suggest themes for her improvisations.
For a complete biography, Click Here

Soprano Indra Thomas has made her mark nationwide and in Europe in the role of Aida. Other important appearances include Amelia in Un ballo in maschera with Teatro Real (Madrid), Wiener Staatsoper and the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; her New York Philharmonic debut in the Porgy and Bess Suite conducted by Lorin Maazel; Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Philadelphia Orchestra; Liu in Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera; her debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Aida; and Elisabeth in Don Carlos with Boston Lyric Opera and Minnesota Opera.
For a complete biography, Click Here

About the Music
In Promenade OvertureJohn Corigliano turns the premise of Haydn's Farewell Symphony around and has the orchestra file in by sections until the full orchestra is seated on stage.  He adds to the tongue-in-cheek nature of the piece by using the last five measures of the "Farewell" played backwards as the opening trumpet fanfare.

Edvard Grieg was only 25 when his Piano Concerto received its premiere.  It was the only work that he wrote in that genre.  The Concerto enjoyed great success at the premiere and has remained a favorite of performers and audiences alike.  Although the Concerto exhibits some of the folk-influenced characteristics that mark Grieg's later works, it is firmly entrenched in the German Romantic tradition of Schumann's Piano Concerto.

Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazil's greatest composer, had little formal training. He learned the cello from his father and earned a living as a young man playing with popular bands, from which he derived much of his musical background. Villa-Lobos wrote set of nine Bachianas Brasileiras for various combinations of instruments. They combine the melodic and rhythmic characteristics of Brazilian music with the texture and style of Bach. No. 5 of the set for eight cellos and soprano soloist is perhaps the most frequently performed.

Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story opened on Broadway in 1957 and ran for a total of 732 performances. In 1961, Bernstein chose a sequence of dance music from West Side Story to assemble as a concert work, and Sid Ramin and Irwin Kostal executed the orchestration of these "Symphonic Dances" under the direction of the composer. Bernstein said that he called these excerpts "symphonic," not because they were arranged for full orchestra but because many of them grew, like a classical symphony, from a few basic themes transformed into a variety of moods to fit the play's action and emotions.
For complete program notes, Click Here.

About the New West Symphony:  Founded in 1995, the New West Symphony is a professional orchestra that draws its players from the rich talent pool of professional Los Angeles-area musicians. Led by music director Marcelo Lehninger, the Symphony is the resident company of the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, and Barnum Hall in Santa Monica.  It presents six Masterpiece Series concerts annually, performing major works from the symphonic repertoire with internationally-acclaimed artists as guest soloists.  The Symphony also provides quality outreach and educational opportunities for the communities it serves through its annual Symphonic Adventures concert programs for youth, its traveling Music Van, and its partnership with New West Symphony Harmony Project of Ventura County, an after-school program for underserved students.

New West Symphony
2014/2015 Masterpiece Series Concert No. 1
Friday, October 17, 2014  8:00 pm
Oxnard Performing Arts Cener
800 Hobson Way, Oxnard
Saturday, October 18, 2014  8:00 pm
Bank of America Performing Arts Center at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks
Sunday, October 19, 2014  4:00 pm
Barnum Hall, Santa Monica
601 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica

Marcelo Lehninger, conductor
Gabriela Montero, piano
Indra Thomas, soprano

Corigliano Promende Overture
Grieg Concerto in A Minor for Piano & Orchestra, Opus 16
Villa-Lobos Bachianas brasileiras No. 5
Bernstein Sympphonic Dances from West Side Story